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(RNS) Catholic legal scholar Nicholas Cafardi, who recently endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president, has resigned as a trustee of Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, an outpost of conservative Catholicism.
Cafardi, an expert in civil and canon law, said he quit the school’s board voluntarily.
“When it became apparent to me that some Catholics who disagree with my position on how to end the horror of abortion in America were using my association with Steubenville to try to harm that great university,” Cafardi said, “I thought that the best thing for me was to resign so as to prevent that harm.”
In a Religion News Service column published Sept. 29, Cafardi argues that Catholics “have lost the abortion battle” and that “a vote for Obama is not somehow un-Catholic.”
Cafardi, former dean of the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, is the second high-profile Catholic scholar to endorse Obama, even though the Illinois Democrat supports abortion rights.
Earlier this year, Douglas Kmiec, a former Reagan Justice Department official and former dean of Catholic University’s law school, also endorsed Obama.
The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is “intrinsically evil,” wrong in all circumstances, and adamantly opposes legalized abortion.
Steubenville University said in a statement that it “does not believe the abortion battle is lost … but that the tide is decidedly turning in favor of life.”
The school said it “strongly encourages its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other constituents to view the life issues — such as abortion, euthanasia, and the protection of marriage and the family — as foundational, and as issues that do not lend themselves to the prudential judgment of the voter.”
University president the Rev. Terence Henry expressed “his gratitude for the many ways Dr. Cafardi has assisted and advised Franciscan University over the years,” the statement said.
By Daniel Burke
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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